Skip to content

Marine Conservation Institute Applauds Final Passage of the Pirate Fishing Bill (HR. 774);

Washington, DC—October 22, 2015—Marine Conservation Institute, a leader in protecting marine biodiversity, applauds Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Brian Schatz –who introduced the pirate fishing bill in May 2015—and other cosponsors for making passage of the pirate fishing bill (HR 774) a bipartisan priority that passed the Senate last night. The legislation greatly strengthens enforcement mechanisms to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing around the world and reduce imports of illegal seafood into the United States.  With four diverse Senate cosponsors and thirty-nine House cosponsors, this bill shows that important ocean problems like pirate fishing can draw bipartisan support. The House bill passed on July 27, 2015.

The US imports approximately $2 billion a year in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood, perpetuating overfishing and destructive practices around the world, and damaging the livelihoods of law abiding US fishermen. IUU imports undercut prices for US caught seafood and unfairly compete with seafood caught by US fishermen who have to live by the stringent requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act. US fishermen and their communities need a level playing field, especially to take advantage of the sacrifices they have made to make Magnuson-Stevens work.

Michael Gravitz, Director of Policy and Legislation at Marine Conservation Institute, said, “At last Congress has stepped up and played its part in combatting this international crime. We are thrilled at the bipartisan support for this critical legislation which will stop illegal seafood before it reaches our docks, our stores and our plates.”

Marine Conservation Institute has worked with Congressional ocean champions for many years to pass this legislation. It will implement an international treaty, the “Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing”, that makes it illegal to import any pirate seafood. The Port States Measures agreement gives US personnel additional tools to stop ships carrying IUU fish from landing the products.  US implementation of this ratified treaty will now send a powerful message to other countries that the US, the second largest importer of seafood in the world, wants to lead on this issue. When 25 countries have signed (14 have at present) the treaty will go into effect for all the signers. Depending on which countries sign the treaty, large markets will close to IUU seafood, severely reducing the economic incentive to fish illegally. The legislation also strengthens and streamlines the enforcement of several important international fishing agreements.

Gravitz continued, “Supporters of action against illegal fishing span the entire ideological spectrum because they all know that IUU imports are hurting law abiding US fishermen and their communities. We applaud this spirit of bipartisan resolve to fix big ocean problems and look forward to the same spirit of cooperation on other important ocean issues.”

Internationally, IUU fishing also contributes to overfishing, destroys habitat, results in hunger in coastal areas (often in poor developing countries, such as regions in West Africa that depend on fish for daily protein) and causes instability in those countries.

Gravitz ended, “We also owe a big thanks to the individual fishermen, companies and fishing groups from around the US –Alaska, Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the mid-Atlantic and New England– who have all weighed in to support this bill and put the squeeze on pirate seafood imports.”


About Marine Conservation Institute 

Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental-policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s overarching goal is to help the world create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure future diversity and abundance of marine life. For more information, please go to:

# # #

For more information, media and bloggers only, please contact:


Michael Gravitz, Director of Policy and Legislation, Marine Conservation Institute


office: 202-546-5346

mobile: 301-351-5052

Photo gallery of public domain pictures and documents:


7 minutes – EJF – Ending Illegal Fishing –

2 minutes – FAO –

4 minutes – EJF – Pirate Fishing Exposed –


Senators and House Members Introducing and Cosponsoring IUU Bill

 Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK, R) introduced the Senate version of the bill (S. 1334)

Other Cosponsors in the Senate

Sen Cantwell, Maria [WA] – 5/14/2015
Sen Markey, Edward J. [MA] – 5/14/2015
Sen Schatz, Brian [HI] – 5/13/2015
Sen Sullivan, Dan [AK] – 5/13/2015
Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] – 5/20/2015


Delegate Madeline Bordallo (Guam, D) introduced the House version of the bill

(HR .774)

Rep Young, Don [AK] – 2/5/2015  introduced  this  bill in other Congresses

Other Cosponsors in the House

Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-12] – 6/17/2015
Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 6/23/2015
Rep Byrne, Bradley [AL-1] – 6/12/2015
Rep Capps, Lois [CA-24] – 2/25/2015
Rep Castor, Kathy [FL-14] – 5/18/2015
Rep Cicilline, David N. [RI-1] – 7/27/2015
Rep Clawson, Curt [FL-19] – 6/4/2015
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] – 4/30/2015
Rep Culberson, John Abney [TX-7] – 6/9/2015
Rep Curbelo, Carlos [FL-26] – 4/13/2015
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] – 2/5/2015
Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-25] – 5/13/2015
Rep Farenthold, Blake [TX-27] – 4/13/2015
Rep Garamendi, John [CA-3] – 2/5/2015
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-3] – 7/27/2015
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-17] – 6/12/2015
Rep Huffman, Jared [CA-2] – 3/3/2015
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-50] – 2/10/2015
Rep Jolly, David W. [FL-13] – 4/13/2015
Rep Keating, William R. [MA-9] – 4/13/2015
Rep Kilmer, Derek [WA-6] – 6/15/2015
Rep Lowenthal, Alan S. [CA-47] – 2/10/2015
Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] – 6/12/2015
Rep Moulton, Seth [MA-6] – 6/12/2015
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-32] – 4/13/2015
Rep Pierluisi, Pedro R. [PR] – 2/10/2015
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 6/17/2015
Rep Radewagen, Aumua Amata Coleman [AS] – 4/13/2015
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-27] – 4/28/2015
Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-39] – 2/10/2015
Rep Sablan, Gregorio Kilili Camacho [MP] – 2/25/2015
Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] – 6/15/2015
Rep Takai, Mark [HI-1] – 5/13/2015
Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-5] – 2/25/2015
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] – 5/14/2015
Rep Weber, Randy K., Sr. [TX-14] – 2/10/2015
Rep Williams, Roger [TX-25] – 4/13/2015
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 2/5/2015
Cover photo credit: NOAA -Mike Markovina. “Catching under-sized fish off the coast of Gabon.”


  1. […] week, the United States became the fourteenth country to sign the Port States Measures Agreement, an international treaty aimed at reducing illegal fishing and activity at sea. Though the treaty […]

  2. Melvin on March 16, 2016 at 4:35 am

    Really helpful information. I think that you spend a lot of time to prepare for this. I found many useful tips and advice here. I love fishing and almost every week I go for it. Your guides may help me catching more fish. Thanks for your great work!

  3. David Hamburg on August 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks for this very informative article. Good to know that our legislators are stepping it up, thereby making avid fishers like myself aware of these things. Cheers to this!